Slow Ventures, the VC firm started by ex-Facebook employees, is losing two partners but spreading its bets on bigger companies

Courtesy of Kevin ColleranFrom left: Will Quist, Kevin Colleran, Sam Lessin.
  • Ex-Facebook employees started Slow Ventures with personal funds in 2011 to invest in promising seed-stage companies. Today the firm announced its $US165 million fourth fund in addition to its first $US55 million fund for later stage investments.
  • According to a blog post announcing the news, partners Dave Morin and Scott Marlette will not invest further but will continue to support the firm’s existing portfolio companies.
  • Slow Ventures current fund has 50 core investments including Ro, Birdies, Airtable and Citizen. The firm’s previous investments include Casper, Postmates, Brandless, and Wag.
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Slow Ventures, the venture capital firm started by Facebook alumni, is spreading its bets with a new fund to invest in larger companies even as it slims down its roster of dealmakers.

The VC firm launched the $US55 milion Opportunity fund on Thursday, creating Slow Ventures’ first official effort to expand from the smaller, seed-stage investments that have until now been its bread and butter. Slow also said it has raised its fourth fund focusing on seed stage startups for $US165 million – the firm’s largest to date.

Along with the new funds, Slow said that two of the firm’s five partners will be stepping back from an active investment role with Slow IV. Dave Morin, one of the founding partners at Slow Ventures, will actively explore new entrepreneurial opportunities, according to partner Kevin Colleran, and remain in a supporting role for Slow’s current portfolio. Scott Marlette joined Slow in 2016 and is taking time off from venture capital, according to Colleran.

Colleran explained that the Opportunity fund will focus on investing between $US3 million and $US5 million in growth businesses in later rounds.

“We intend to maintain our primary focus on seed stage investing and maintaining the Opportunity/growth fund for as long as we are able to find compelling growth stage companies that we may have missed earlier on as well as existing Slow portfolio companies where we think it makes sense to increase our investment at the Series B or C,” said Colleran via email.

Colleran, Morin and Sam Lessin were early Facebook employees and started Slow Ventures in 2011. Eight years later, the firm has about $US450 million under management between the four seed funds and the new Opportunity fund. According to Colleran, Slow counts nearly 150 different high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments, fund of funds, state pension funds, a hospital, and other venture capital firms as limited partners across the five funds.

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Slow Ventures current portfolio includes investments across industries, including Pinterest, Slack, Casper, Robinhood, Postmates, Managed By Q, Nest, Hipcamp, Birdies, and Airtable. Colleran said the firm’s Slow III fund was one of the first to invest in a Series B with Airtable.

“In the same month we may be making investments in consumer brands, crypto/blockchain, life sciences, software, and even rockets/space…. But many of those investments will be based more on the team than the initial product idea or business model,” Colleran said.

Colleran explains that Slow IV will continue to focus on early stage companies and will invest between $US500,000 and $US1.5 million to purchase anywhere between 10% and 15% of a company’s equity on average. He says that it felt “natural” to continue investing in seed rounds given the success of the firm’s earlier funds.

“We think that our experience being part of the early days at Facebook, our personal networks, and our skills and interests lend themselves towards seed stage investing more so than later stages,” said Colleran via email.

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